Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Confusing the planes is one of the besetting sins of novice occultists, and the old hands often make the same error in subtler ways. Trying to fly before we can walk is of no benefit.
This shows up constantly in discussions about the Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley encouraged his less developed students to view the Holy Guardian Angel as a being wholly exterior to themselves. In his writings for more advanced students, it becomes the most intimate and fundamental part of identity. But beginners, reading the latter statements, take them to mean “The HGA is my Higher Self, or an aspect of my own being,” when the reality to be grasped is the inverse: the everyday self is an aspect of this immensity we call the HGA. But that viewpoint takes time to evolve, so it’s much less misleading in the early stages to stick with the I-Thou concept, and avoid an I-Big I conception altogether. This is one reason why The Book of the Law calls the second ‘grade’ of the system the Lover, since there is a aspirant and a Beloved. The individual who has progressed through this, and has truly begun to appreciate the identity of self and Angel is a Hermit: one who dwells apart and alone, without projecting aspects of the HGA onto the world that is experienced all around him.
Crowley never gives more than a cursory definition of the HGA. The Anthem in the Gnostic Mass comes close, yet like other references, it uses elliptical and ambiguous language. A wise teacher doesn’t change this for his or her students, preferring to let their appreciation of its vast scope accumulate over time. Any time I personally looked for an analogy or a broad enough symbol, my teachers tended to point me to something – maybe one of the Tarot cards sitting high up on the Tree that produce intimations from Up There, but not concrete information – that only made me make more enquiries, which in turn confounded whatever theory I was concocting.
There’s often talk between practitioners about Liber Samekh, Liber Pyramidos and other texts that are used for HGA invocation. But before the student can meaningfully approach these, a lot of mental lumber and dross needs to be shifted out of the way, or what gets invoked is going to include or reflect the aspirant’s current mental misperceptions. To experience the Fire of the HGA’s arrival we need to calm the Air (mind and its restlessness), a most difficult task; and then we have to comprehend the Waters of deeper consciousness. We need stillness, but an energised, pregnant stillness that will only arise from long practice. Once we’re familiar with silence and the absence of ideas, the Voice of the HGA (or whatever it chooses to extend of itself) becomes discernible. Confusing the planes, and going for the main course before consuming the soup and hors d’oeuvres, only defeats our aims.
Or, to cite another example of the problem, proclaiming our wills before learning to examine the need of what it is we’re willing, means we develop a mental laziness so that true self-development take longer. That seems to contradict The Book of the Law’s injunction (II, v. 30), “If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.” But Will in this sense only gets moving when it’s already been freed from the clutter of ideas around it. Trying to live by it without first getting to know the underpinnings of the personality and its contradictions is only going to trigger our problem areas.
Patience is necessary in order to use magical force effectively. And attentive stillness is required before we really begin to discern what we’re looking for.
Love is the law, love under will,